01/04/2012. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Big Finish. 3 CDs 180 minute story. Price: CD: GBP25.00 (UK), Download: GBP17.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-609-6). cast: Ciara Janson, Laura Doddington, Fraser James, Susan Brown, Michael Cochrane, Derek Griffiths, Joanna van Gyseghem, Daisy Ashford, John Banks and Joseph Kloska.
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As a handy antidote to the male-centric world of ‘Doctor Who’, we have the lovely ladies of ‘Graceless Series 2’. Abby (Ciara Janson) and Zara (Laura Doddington) are quite lethal although luckily they are reformed destroyers of planets. Originally created for the ‘Key 2 Time’ series of Big Finish Audios, the pair who were made by the pan-dimensional Graces were granted life at the end of that series and, of course, self determination.
Ploughing through planets in ‘Graceless Series One’, the pair continued to make mistakes although they try to make amends. ‘Atonement is a bitch,’ as TV’s Angel once said.
Part 1: The Line
Happily familied with Marek (Fraser James, Blamire in ‘Robin Hood’) and baby Joy, the pair are living the dream or certainly the male fantasy of having two wives and no mortgage. However when they next travel on thought transference, so much quicker than a time-ring or TARDIS, they arrive on in a rather nice restaurant on a spike high above a planet.
The fine dining establishment also offers a view of the city which just happens to be Marek’s old home. The city travels the line across the planet always away from the burning hot side facing the sun. It’s a fabulous place but everyone here is going to die. Marek knows that this has already happened but can the amazing pair stop it and who is Manchu Golding?
Knowing they must always keep moving to avoid the attention of those seeking revenge, the three of them still want to help but some things might be too big for even their talents.
Guest actors include Derek Griffiths as the mysterious and powerful Manchu Golding.
Part 2: The Flood
The two girls arrive on a planet where it just keeps raining. At first, they have to stop a ship from sinking to save all the passengers but that’s just the beginning. When they get to dry land, it’s not so dry anymore and even their power won’t stop the waters rising.
They try to help the museum keepers to raise the contents above the tide but there is something nasty in the water. It’s been waiting a long time and the human inhabitants find out they are not as welcome as previously thought.
Part 3: The Dark
Abby and Zara are dumped on a planet in the dark and they didn’t choose to go there. Trapped along with a woman called Joy and her grown-up son, they try to stay alive long enough to find out who might want them dead. Joy’s son takes a shine to Abby but isn’t she his Aunty?
Something or someone has finally called the pair to account.
If the web of time is tangly, then this is the unique knitting pattern for it. Simon Guerrier has spun three greats stories which examine the afterlife of the ‘big bads’. Released from their servitude to the Graces, these bad girls go good are keen to ‘put right what once went wrong’ – thank you ‘Quantum Leap’. They find like the hapless Sam of QL that it’s not that easy especially when there are nappies to be changed.
Abby and Zara are a likeable pair and Marek as the oh so loveable role gives the pair more depth and a foil or their wit. The second story, ‘The Flood’ changes that tension and instead introduces a husband and wife who become more like parents to the homeless girls. There is still plenty of dynamic in that story and an interesting plot, grand in its scope. Finally, with ‘The Dark’ the girls are horribly exposed and we find out their fears in all the splendid exposition and witty exchanges between the pair and the not so joyous Joy.
These tales are not action packed but the dialogue is intense, thoughtful and on words per minute must offer huge value for money. It’s intelligent in the way that so much television drama isn’t. ‘Graceless 2’ is wordy by necessity but offers such vivid pictures that it never feels we are suffering from a verbal overdose.
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